Blue Ghost Fireflies of North Carolina. Photo credit – CFAIA
Blue Ghost Fireflies Near Asheville just minutes off the Smoky Mountains sister national park, the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Blue Ghost Fireflies cast an eerie spell in the mountains south of Asheville, N.C. in late May.
It is a naturally occurring phenomenon that attracts hundreds of visitors each year. Unlike other fireflies which flash an off and on yellow signal to attract a mate, the Ghost Firefly, indigenous to the region, hovers close to the ground and illuminates the forest floor with an ethereal blue glow.
This natural attraction lures hundreds of visitors to the Blue Ridge each year. Last year, anticipating an additional
Pink Beds Blue Ghost Fireflies. Phot Credit – Jonathan Farber
surge of interest in the event, the Pisgah Field School launched a program entitled “In Search of the Blue Ghost” and offered nighttime tours during late May and early June. The School, an educational division of the Cradle of Forestry Interpretive Association, which also manages the Cradle of Forestry in America Heritage Site in the Pisgah National Forest, continues the nocturnal treks again this year and has upped the number of visitors to 100 per night.
Tours fill quickly and if you would like to attend we suggest that you make your reservations now. For more info, or to make reservations, visit www.PisgahFieldSchool.org.
While in the area be sure to visit the Cradle of Forestry, (located in the heart of the Southern Appalachian Mountains near Brevard and Asheville, N.C.) the birthplace of science-based forestry management and a living legacy of George and Edith Vanderbilt, famed owners of “America’s Castle” Biltmore House in Ashville.
The Biltmore School of Forestry, the first school of its kind in North America and dubbed institute of “practical forestry,” was founded by Carl A. Schenck in 1898. Once part of the massive Biltmore estate the land was acquired by the National Forest Service when Biltmore’s widow sold some 87,500 acres in 1914. Nestled in the mountainous valley known as “The Pink Beds,” the land became part of the Pisgah National Forest in Transylvania County and in 1968 Congress earmarked 6,500 acres as a National Historic Site in order to “preserve develop and make available to this and future generations.”
Open mid-April to November, the site provides information on past, present and future environmental sustainability practices through interpretive trails, films, music, drama, guided tours, interactive exhibits and other special events. Guided trails lead to historical buildings, a 1915 Climax logging locomotive and a vintage sawmill.
The Cradle of Forestry, located within Pisgah National Forest, can be accessed from Hwy. 276 North, just 4 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway at Mile Marker 412 and 3.5 miles from Sliding Rock.